For those ready to make the commitment, assignments lasting a year or more have special rewards in many ways: one can adjust to the new culture sufficiently to begin to make a real personal contribution, and accordingly, more organizations are willing to share a larger portion of the volunteer's expenses. For those interested in a career in development work, this is usually the best first step.
- Peace Corps- volunteer for 27 months in an international location. All expenses covered and extra educational benefits included. For more information see Peace Corps.
U-M Peace Corps Office
Located in the U-M International Center
If you live outside southeast Michigan, contact:
- United Nations- United Nations Volunteer Program- For experienced professionals only, especially those in technical areas. Most UNVs have advanced degrees and have spent a significant amount of time working in developing countries. People of all nationalities are eligible to apply.
UK Government (not restricted to UK citizens)
- VSO –Similar to Peace Corps, however VSO volunteers must have a minimum of two years’ experience in their professional field, gained in the last five years, in a skill area in which they have roles available. VSO recruits from the United States, Canada, Europe, parts of Africa and Asia. See website for further eligibility details.
Non-Government Organizations (NGOs)
- These organizations, of which there are hundreds, can be roughly categorized into those that hire only experienced professionals (especially in health and technological fields) and those that will consider volunteers without these skills. The former type includes large, well-known NGOs such as the following:
- NGOs that will hire inexperienced volunteers include:
- Database for searching for NGOs worldwide: www.idealist.org.
Religious Affiliated Volunteer Organizations
- Many of these organizations are engaged in courageous and activist-oriented work for social change. They might be roughly grouped into those which see their mission as primarily working for social assistance and change, and those whose primary focus is proselytizing; of course, a few combine these activities. Organizations that focus on social activism include the following:
- Some religious-affiliated organizations will accept volunteers who do not belong to that religion, provided that the volunteer shares the overall values and goals of the organization. Examples include: